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Diet linked to sleepiness and alertness

Published on 13/05/2013

Levels of sleepiness and alertness in healthy adults are linked to the type of food they eat, a recent study suggests.

Work is one of the biggest factors of exhaustion

The results showed that consuming a higher intake of carbohydrates increased alertness while a higher fat consumption increases daytime sleepiness.

The study was conducted by Alexandros Vgontzas from the Penn State College of Medicine and an abstract was published online in the journal SLEEP.

Vgontzas said: “An increased in fat consumption has an acute adverse effect on alertness of otherwise non-obese, healthy adults.”

The research focused on 31 healthy, non-obese routine sleepers aged 18-65 years who spent four consecutive nights staying in a sleep lab. None of the volunteers suffered from any sleep disorders or sleep apnea.

Their diet was assessed and meals were provided to control the diet of the adults. On the fourth day their objective sleepiness was measured by the Multiple Sleep Latency Test and the results were drawn up against their diet.

“Excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue are very prevalent in the modern world and on the rise,” said Vgontzas.

“It appears that a diet high in fat decreases alertness acutely, and this may have an impact on an individual’s ability to function and also public safety.”

According to the Department of Transport, driving tired and falling asleep at the wheel is the cause of around 20% of accidents on long journeys on trunk roads and motorways.

Men aged 30 and under are more likely to have a sleep related vehicle accident. The greatest risk of falling asleep at the wheel is between midnight and 6am.

The researchers suggested that a high-fat diet could lead to other lifestyle problems beyond sleepiness.

“Future studies are needed to confirm these findings and explore the effects of chronic high fat consumption on the quality of life,” they said.

Maintaining a healthy diet by following the recommended dietary guidelines is one way you could save money on your health insurance premiums.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2013

Categories:  Health InsuranceHealthMedical
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